If you’re laughing your head off at the title of this post because the very idea of saving money at a theme park seems like an oxymoron, we don’t blame you. Taking the family to a theme park for a day can really set you back if you pay full price. Even a single adult ticket to many of the popular theme parks can cost more than dinner and a movie for two.
But the good news is that if you do a little planning before you go you can easily cut costs with online discounts, two-for-one vouchers and other strategies. We’re all for spontaneous adventures but when it comes to theme parks, planning ahead of time is much wiser than simply deciding on the spur of the moment to go to Legoland and showing up at the gate with the youngsters in tow. Here are a few tips for making a potentially wallet-whomping adventure a little more manageable.
1. Always book ahead. If you buy your tickets on the day you go it’s almost always more expensive than booking in advance. And if you don’t want to use the rides and attractions yourself but are simply accompanying the kids, you can probably get a drastically reduced price for yourself.
2. Use those loyalty points. Generally speaking, loyalty points can be cashed in for days out. One example is the Tesco Clubcard; holders of that card can convert their voucher points into tokens, and those tokens can be worth up to five times the vouchers’ face value. They can be applied toward entry into many UK attractions.
3. Find a “two-fer.” There are many two-for-one-deals available; shop around on web site such as TopDogDays.com or MoneySavingExpert.com. Some attractions do not accept these discounts but it never hurts to check.
4. Take advantage of package deals. If you plan to spend a couple of days at a park you can sometimes get good value by purchasing a short-break package. For instance an overnight package might include discounted entry fees and a night in a family room at a park’s partner hotel. Note however that in many cases only paying family members count when determining the discount qualifications. We mention this because at some attractions, children under a certain age or height are admitted free, and some packages require a minimum of four paying members (two parents and two paying children, for instance). Even so, check out what is available and you might be able to nab a package deal that’s just right for your family.
5. Whenever possible take your own food and drinks. Whilst some attractions don’t allow you to bring your own food and beverages, most UK theme parks have dedicated picnic areas. Of course you will want to check in advance to make sure you aren’t packing a scrumptious picnic lunch only to be forbidden from taking it past the gate. Amusement park fare is notoriously overpriced but if you do plan to buy meals on site, you might be able to buy an “all you can eat” ticket in advance to save money.
6. Cut down on expenses by using train or coach. Since many attractions charge premium prices to park your car, you might be able to save by taking a train or coach. If you use the National Rail’s Days Out Guide web site you can download two-for-one entry vouchers, saving you even more. And when you use National Express’s coach services you can get a similar deal.
Deals are constantly changing of course. For up to date info on theme park bargains, see this page on the Money Saving Expert site:
Save a little money now at the theme parks, and you’ll have more to spend on those overpriced toys the kids will be hollering for as Christmas approaches. Have fun!